An end of week (and end of weekend) post…

Okay, so I haven’t posted in here in a while. So sue me. I’ve been kept pretty busy over the past week or so, and haven’t really had time to come in here and do a post. I’ve got a half an hour or so now, so I can elaborate on how my week’s been.

As I’ve said before, I went on a business trip to Rock Springs, WY this past week. I left on Monday, arriving in Salt Lake City at around noon local time. From there, I rented a car and made my way to Rock Springs. I must say that driving to Rock Springs from Salt Lake City is a hell of a lot more pleasant than driving to Dallas, Lafayette, or Corpus Christi from Houston. It’s about the same amount of driving time, but it’s a lot more scenic (with mountains and the like), so it doesn’t seem as boring. Of course, it helped that I brought my iPod and FM transmitter/car charger with me. I arrived in Rock Springs at around 4 PM local time, and met up with coworkers at the location so I could get an idea of what was going on. Then, I went to my hotel (the local Hampton Inn, which was as nice as always), and got settled in. I then went for dinner at the local Applebee’s, which was in the parking lot of Rock Springs’s mall. (For those of you familiar with the north Houston area as it was in the 70’s and 80’s… the closest comparison I can make is that the mall reminded me of North Oaks Mall. :-) ) It had been twenty years since I’ve been at an Applebee’s. It’ll be another twenty years before I go back. The food just wasn’t that good. :-/

I got to the factory early Tuesday morning after having a very nice breakfast at the hotel (they even had my preferred brands of syrup and coffee creamer!), and got straight to work setting the time clocks up. I managed to get all of the timeclocks operational, other than missing a fiber-optic port module for the switch. I must say, though, that re-running a bunch of ethernet cable in the shop was not my idea of a fun time. :-/ After the day was done, I headed back to the hotel, and pretty much hung out there the rest of the night (other than a brief run over to Burger King to get some dinner).

I checked out of the hotel Wednesday morning, and went over to the factory to work; I ended up setting up a small networked laser printer and installing the second fiber-optic port on the switch (which didn’t arrive until that morning). From there, I had lunch with two coworkers at this neat little Italian place called Rocky Mountain Noodle. After lunch, I said goodbye to Lance and Ralph, and began the drive back to Salt Lake City. I was understandably nervous about doing so, as SLC had been getting some rotten weather (aka, rain and snow showers) and that it was travelling east towards Rock Springs. It didn’t help that Ralph, Lance, and Kelly (the general manager at the Rock Springs location) had been giving me shit about it. Fortunately for me, though, it turned out that most of the weather was actually 40-50 miles south of I-80. Other than a rainshower outside of Little America, it was nice and sunny until I got within 30 miles of Salt Lake City. At that point I hit some serious snow showers. I was nervous, but it turned out to be nowhere near as bad as I had feared. I finally reached my hotel (the Comfort Inn at SLC International Airport) after a wrong turn or two, got settled in, and worked from the hotel room that night (excluding dinner in the hotel restaurant). I likely won’t stay there again; two of the lamps lacked bulbs, the bathroom’s fan was too damn loud, and I kept getting disconnected from my home server and the work VPN.

The next morning I did some more work from the hotel room. At about 10:30 AM, I checked out, went to the airport, returned my rental car, and went to the gate to work from there. Unfortunately, despite all the ads they had at the airport for wireless network access, my laptop was unable to get onto the airport’s wifi system. So, I just watched the CNN monitors and took calls on my Blackberry while waiting for my flight. I got on the flight, arrived back in Houston at 5:30 PM, and Dad picked me up. All in all, an uneventful end to the trip…

… or so I thought, until we got into a wreck on the way home.

We were on Greens Road heading westbound; we had just crossed Aldine-Westfield when I noticed a white Buick Regal preparing to pull out of Chevron. I had hoped she wouldn’t pull out as we were approaching. She did. Next thing I know, she’s T-boning Dad’s car on the passenger side right in front of me. *sigh* I looked over at her, and she had a perfect “Oh SHIT” expression on her face. Fortunately no one was hurt; Dad’s car was dented and scratched, but the Buick’s front bumper was torn off. We waited a while for a policeman to show up to file a police report, but none came, so we decided to file one the next morning and get home. (It was after dark at that point and that area of town isn’t a very nice one.) I got home, unpacked, and caught up on some stuff… and that was my day.

Friday was rather uneventful, other than the fact that I got a new cell phone. This new phone is supposed to be one of the “Blackberry killers”; it’s a Cingular 8125, which runs Windows Mobile 5.0. I already have it linked to my office email account, and it’s been working rather well. In fact, the only reason I carried both it and my Blackberry around is because they won’t have my number ported to the 8125 until tomorrow morning. After that, I’ll be rid of the Blackberry and using the 8125 full-time. It really is a nice device, though I imagine people like Agilo and kryptondog will be scandalized that I’m using a Windows device as my cell phone. Heh.

As for this weekend… about the most productive thing done was to fix the satellite dish. We first noticed a problem yesterday evening when I tried to watch Cops and found my satellite receiver wasn’t getting anything from the dish. After a bunch of troubleshooting (involving re-running coaxial cable and moving receivers between locations), I finally went to Best Buy to purchase a new dual-LNB for the dish, as Dad found the old one had somehow been damaged. The receiver’s working fine now, thankfully… no complaints from me or anything. :-)

And now, I should consider going to bed. It’s been a long day, and it’ll be a longer one tomorrow. Fun fun…